Renowned Colombian Artist Botero Is Dead

Painter and sculptor's distinctive works were known around the world
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 15, 2023 1:53 PM CDT
Renowned Colombian Artist Botero Is Dead
Colombian artist Fernando Botero gives an interview in New York in 2013.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Renowned Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, whose depictions of people and objects in plump, exaggerated forms became emblems of Colombian art around the world, has died at age 91. Lina Botero told the Colombian radio station Caracol that her father died Friday morning in Monaco of pneumonia complications, per the AP. Botero depicted politicians, animals, saints, and scenes from his childhood in an inflated and colorful form that was instantly recognizable. During his lifetime, the artist attained global fame and influence, despite his humble origins, and his paintings were exhibited in museums globally, while his imposing bronze sculptures can be found in the parks and avenues of many European and Latin American capitals.

"His success was truly immense," Botero's son Juan Carlos, wrote in a biography of his father, published in 2010. "Fernando Botero has created a unique style, that is original and easy to recognize." Botero's paintings fetched millions of dollars at international auctions, and the artist was highly esteemed in his native Colombia, not just because of his success abroad, but due to the generous donations he made to his home country, including 23 statues, that are now in a park in downtown Medellin, and have become one of the city's most visited attractions.

His sculpture of a white, chubby pigeon, standing proudly on a pedestal became an emblem of Colombia's efforts to make peace with rebel groups and is currently placed in a prominent gallery inside the nation's presidential palace. Botero once said he would paint every day from morning until night, and in absolute silence, so as not to allow anything to distract him. His daughter told Colombian radio station Blu on Friday that Botero had been working at his studio in Monaco regularly, until last weekend. "He couldn't work on oil paintings," she explained, because he was too weak to stand and hold larger brushes. "But he was experimenting with water paintings." (More obituary stories.)

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